The 29th of September marked the 34th celebration of World Maritime Day. This year’s theme was: “Piracy: orchestrating the response, “ a theme chosen by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to provide the international community and the shipping industry with an opportunity to highlight and reflect upon the efforts made to meet the challenges of modern-day piracy.
In his World Maritime Day message, IMO Secretary-General Admiral Efthimios E. Mitropoulos said that the United Nations, alliances (political and defence) of States, Governments acting collectively or individually, military forces, shipping companies, ship operators and ships’ crews, all had a crucial part to play in order to rid the world of the threat posed by piracy in the vast expanse of the Indian Ocean.
“To alleviate this unacceptable situation, no effort should be spared. Shipping companies must ensure that their ships rigorously apply the IMO guidance and industry-developed Best Management Practices in their entirety, so that, when venturing into the western Indian Ocean region, they comply with all the recommended measures: no ship is invulnerable, in particular those with relatively low freeboards and slow steaming speeds. And Governments need to back up their oft-stated concern over the situation by deploying military and other resources commensurate, in numbers and technology, with the scale of the problem and with a realistic chance of dealing with it effectively, ” Adm. Mitropoulos said.
“While IMO has positioned itself in the epicentre of the concerted efforts being made, it cannot alone supply an instant solution to the issue – particularly since, although piracy manifests itself at sea, the roots of the problem are to be found ashore. Nevertheless, through our action plan and other initiatives, and in collaboration with other interested parties, equally determined and committed as ourselves, we feel confident we will be able to make a difference where the problem is being most acutely felt – at sea, ” he added.
Adm. Mitropoulos noted that some success in thwarting pirate attacks can already be claimed, as can be seen from the falling percentage of attacks that prove successful. “Nevertheless, as the statistics so bleakly indicate, piracy and armed robbery against ships remain real and ever-present dangers to those who use the seas for peaceful purposes. So long as pirates continue harassing shipping, hijacking ships and seafarers, we are neither proud of, nor content with, the results achieved so far, ” he said.
Concluding his World Maritime Day message, Adm. Mitropoulos said: “More needs to be done, including the capture, prosecution and punishment of all those involved in piracy; the tracing of ransom money; and the confiscation of proceeds of crime derived from hijacked ships, if the ultimate goal of consigning piracy to the realms of history is to be achieved. We hope that our choice of the theme for 2011 will provide an appropriate rallying point around which all those who can make a difference can focus their efforts. In the meantime, our thoughts and prayers are with those seafarers, who, at present, are in the hands of pirates. May they all be released unharmed and returned to their families soon.”
A reception took place at the mezzanine floor of the IMO HQ’s in Albert Embankment, with the house breaking to its seems! Nice dips and drinks from all over the Globe.
Rome hosted World Maritime Day Parallel Event
The Palazzo Colonna in Rome was the venue for the 2011 IMO World Maritime Day Parallel Event, on 13 and 14 October 2011, focusing on this year’s World Maritime Day theme – “Piracy: orchestrating the response.”
On 13 October, a seminar was organized, with sessions devoted to “Anti-Piracy Measures and Best Practices” and “International Co-operation against Piracy.”
Among those addressing the meeting were Adm. Efthimios E. Mitropoulos, IMO Secretary-General; Mr. Koji Sekimizu, Director, Maritime Safety Division, IMO; Vice Minister Roberto Castelli, Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, Italy; Undersecretary Alfredo Mantica, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Italy; Admiral Bruno Branciforte, Chief of the Italian Navy; Vice Admiral Marco Brusco, Commandant of the Italian Coast Guard; and representatives from other organizations, including, inter alia, the United Nations World Food Program and the Apostleship of the Sea.
In his closing remarks, Secretary-General Mitropoulos thanked the Government of Italy and the Italian Shipowners’ Confederation for successfully hosting the 2011 edition of the World Maritime Day Parallel Event, and for organizing such an insightful and stimulating programme of events, adding that, as this seminar had confirmed, much more needs to be done if the ultimate goal of consigning piracy to the realms of history is to be achieved.
On 14 October, various activities took place around the Civitavecchia harbor, including a live link to the Italian destroyer Andrea Doria, which is taking part in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Operation “Ocean Shield”, NATO’s contribution to international efforts to combat piracy off the Horn of Africa. A second live link allowed participants to connect with the Italian Coast Guard Operational Centre, where piracy alerts are received.
IMO Secretary-General Adm. Mitropoulos said: “The successful conclusion of this year’s World Maritime Day Parallel Event has once again highlighted the need for all forces to come together to combat the scourge of modern-day piracy. In the past two days both policy and practical issues have been addressed that continually need to be developed in order for seafarers to once again be able to carry out their duties at sea without the risk of being attacked by pirates.”
IMO – the International Maritime Organization – is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships. Web site: www.imo.org